By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan will celebrate Wind Tuesday on March 12. It is the third Tuesday before Novruz spring holiday.
The most cheerful and long-awaited holiday of Azerbaijan marks the arrival of spring and the start of a new year.
It falls on the vernal equinox, the day when the hours of daylight approximately equal those of darkness.
Every year Azerbaijanis celebrate the last four Tuesdays of winter before Novruz.
These days are named after the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind.
The legend says that God created man from earth and water, gave him warmth and ordered the wind to wake him up. Therefore, these Tuesdays are considered sacred.
The important Novruz symbols are khoncha (a tray with sweets, nuts fruits and dyed eggs on) and samani( green shoots from wheat seeds).
The holiday was given the status of an official holiday in Azerbaijan by a presidential decree dated 13 March 1990. In 2009, Novruz was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and since then, March 21 was declared the International Day of Novruz.
On Wind Tuesday, four different winds that regularly blow and sleep underground come together on Wind Tuesday.
The four winds are the Khazri, a cold northern wind, the Gilavar, a mild, southern wind, Agh Yel (the White Wind) and Gara Yel (the Black Wind), both hot, dry summer winds.
Agh Yel appears in a white dress, Gara Yel in a black one, Khazri in a blue one and Gilavar in a red one.
On this day everyone stands under a willow tree and calls "Yel baba".
If the wind blows and the branches touch the ground, it is believed that your dream will come true.
Also, Azerbaijani people traditionally eat pilaf on this day.
Bonfires are made in every yard or neighborhood.
Birds and animals should be released from the cage on this Tuesday.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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